Following the breath as it comes and goes
What we give to make space for God: thoughts on Terumah

A poem for Rosh Chodesh Adar א



The first Adar takes its name
from the letter who tells no tales.

Contains "little Purim"
which is just like big Purim

except we don't read the megillah
or send gift baskets

we just cultivate joy.
The first Adar's mitzvot are invisible.

The first Adar conceals its holiness
like a veiled Torah scroll.

It's like the cosmos compressed
into the silent first letter

of the first word
of the first commandment.

Like the queen whose name means hidden,
who keeps her Judaism close to the vest.

Like the Holy One, never mentioned
in our bawdy passion play

but gleaming all over the story
for we who have eyes to see.

Happy Rosh Chodesh / new month!

It's new moon; we've entered into Adar א, the first of this year's two months of Adar. (Why two months of Adar? In seven out of every nineteen years, we get a "leap year," which on the Jewish calendar means we get a whole extra month; that way, our calendar remains in synch both with the cycles of the sun and the cycles of the moon. Adar is the month which gets doubled during leap years.)

Here's a bit more about Adar 1 (2011).

And here's a post about Purim Katan (2011), referenced in the second couplet of this poem.

The final three couplets hint at the Megillah of Esther, the scroll which we read on Purim during Adar ב / Adar 2.